The men’s tennis team ended last season with a sour taste in its mouth, dropping its last five contests of the season. But the Elis still finished their season with a 12–10 winning record, indicative of a strong start to the season during which they at one point boasted a strong six-game win streak.
With an incoming rookie class of three, a solid sophomore contingent and a group of seasoned veterans, the Yale men’s tennis team will hope to recapture that early season magic as it gets set to start this year with a returning ace and a fearless senior class.
“I am excited for the opportunity to spend another season alongside some of my closest friends at Yale playing a sport that we all love,” team captain Zach Krumholz ’15 said. “I am also excited because we know that we have the talent and work ethic to do some serious damage in the Ivy League this year.”
In addition to their 12–10 overall record, the Bulldogs came out of last season with a 1–6 mark in conference play.
The current sophomore class, comprised of James Ratchford ’17, Photos Photiades ’17, Tyler Lu ’17 and Alex Hagermoser ’17, contributed enormously to the team’s winning season. Lu ended his rookie year for the Elis with an overall record of 30–7 in singles play.
The sophomore phenom led the team at the No. 1 singles spot for all seven conference matches, winning three of those in straight sets. At the end of the 2014 spring season, Lu was awarded first team all-Ivy honors. He was also recognized as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I Rookie of the Year for the Northeast region. This season, Lu will be competing in the first national event of the year at the ITA All-American Championships, held in Tulsa, Okla. He is ranked nationally at No. 84 in the country in singles.
“I am most looking forward to getting back into competitive matches,” Lu said. “I love playing tennis, and last year playing in tournaments and dual matches was certainly a highlight.”
Yale will continue its strong tennis tradition by adding three new talented players: Fedor Andrienko ’18, Stefan Doehler ’18 and Ziqi Wang ’18. At the beginning of the year, this recruiting class was ranked No. 26 nationally. Andrienko comes to Yale via Moscow and has been ranked in the top 95 juniors in the world by the International Tennis Federation. Doehler has played in various tournaments nationally and will continue to bolster the team’s West Coast presence as he hails from Tustin, Calif. Wang has clinched three National Open titles and is currently ranked No. 1 in his home state, Alabama.
Yale’s underclassmen are anchored by the squad’s more experienced veterans. Yale’s five upperclassmen — two juniors and three seniors — round off the already solid lineup. Martin Svenning ’16 and Jason Brown ’16 both bring experience in singles and doubles. Last season, Svenning was a consistent presence as part of the No. 1 doubles team with Lu. Matt Saiontz ’15, Daniel Faierman ’15 and Krumholz will lead the team in experience, as all three seniors have seen the court multiple times in match play. At the end of last season, Faierman was awarded the George A. Phelps ’95 Memorial Award, which is traditionally given to the team’s most improved player. At one point in the spring season, he achieved a six-match winning streak.
“It’s crazy to think that I’m headed into my fourth year on the team,” Faierman said. “I want to finish strong and think this is one of the most talented teams I’ve been a part of thus far. The seniors and I have really high expectations, and I think if we work as hard as we worked last year we’ll have a great year.”
The Bulldogs will open the individual season in Princeton, N.J. at the Ivy Plus Invitational. Last year, Lu came away from the tournament with a main draw victory and Photiades finished with a consolation win.